How long have you been in the Boyce College classroom?
I’ve been teaching at Boyce College since 2008.
What’s your favorite course to teach? Why?
I can hardly believe that I get to do what I do and that I get to do it at Boyce College. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. To make a living at teaching the Bible is a tremendous privilege and stewardship. To be at Boyce College is also a unique privilege. We teach from a confessional framework, which gives great freedom and accountability as we pass on the faith to these students.
My calling and passion is to teach the scripture. So I love every single class that allows me to do that. Having said that, I really do enjoy teaching hermeneutics, which is the study of how to interpret scripture. We are not born good readers. We have to learn, and hermeneutics helps students to see what they often don’t otherwise see when they are reading. The goal of reading is not to impose our own ideas and agendas onto the text. The goal of reading is to uncover what the author is trying to communicate. Until readers grasp that basic point, they are not going to be able to understand what they are reading as they should. And of course, they won’t be able to understand the Bible— which is the one book we all need to hear from. Until we listen to what the biblical authors are communicating, we will not be able to realize the Bible’s authority in our own lives.
Is there a concept or theme across the courses you teach that you want students to take away?
I love it when students in hermeneutics begin thinking about concepts and ideas that they have never considered before. They begin to examine their assumptions about what meaning is and what the goal of interpretation is. They become better readers and subsequently better students of God’s Word. Similarly, it is a thrill to see students get excited about the Old Testament. That usually happens when they begin to see the big picture and how each of the books is actually a part of a much larger canonical story. It’s a beautiful thing when it happens.
You spend a fair amount of time blogging and commenting on public affairs. How does that fit with your work as a professor?
Writing on my blog and other online outlets is a great way to show how God’s revelation impacts the nitty gritty details of our lives. Blog writing is informal writing, but it is nevertheless a really good exercise for writers. Writers write. And a blog can become a daily way to hone your skills. Also, blogs often become first drafts of work that eventually gets published in books or journals. I have always been grateful for the way blogging has helped me with writing — to say things succinctly and clearly so that ordinary readers can understand.
Other than the Bible, what’s the book you reread most?
I read The Valley of Vision daily. It is a prayerbook that I constantly use in my devotional life. Books like this one are helpful when you feel like you don’t have the words to pray. They direct your thoughts and your devotion down well-worn, godly paths of prayer. If you draw on this wisdom long enough, these kinds of prayers will become your own.